Novak Djokovic, the tennis world number one, is facing a jarring situation in Australia.
The row is over whether he has been exempted from Australia’s COVID vaccination rules and he currently faces deportation after his visa was cancelled.
In the meantime, he has been placed in immigration custody at the Park Hotel in Carlton, Melbourne. The hotel costs $109-a-night.
Djokovic, while under custody, per a report in The Sun, has made demands for both a personal chef and access to a tennis court.
He also requested to be transferred to an apartment so he could continue his training ahead of his involvement in the Australian Open which is scheduled to begin in a week’s time.
These requests have reportedly been denied by the authorities involved.
The tennis star has been told that there will be no special treatment accorded to him while he is in custody at the hotel. He awaits trial on Monday after his visa was revoked on Wednesday. He is also facing the boot from the Australian Open.
The nine-time winner had been granted a vaccine exemption to compete in the tournament before dramatic events saw that his visa was cancelled. This came after a six-hour standoff at the airport and a strong decision by the Australian authorities.
His request came from the need to follow the diet of a professional tennis player.
The immigration hotel that Djokovic has been forced to live in has been in the news before with previous guests having made complaints of various kinds which include fires, bugs in rooms, maggots in the food and even Covid outbreaks.
Djokovic’s mother, at a press conference held in Belgrade, spoke out about the conditions in the hotel her son was placed in, she said:
“I spoke with him a couple of hours ago, he was good, we didn’t speak a lot but we spoke for a few minutes. He was trying to sleep, but he couldn’t.
As a mother, what can I say, you can just imagine how I feel, I feel terrible since yesterday, the last 24 hours.“
She said that: “ His accommodation [is] terrible. It’s just some small, immigration hotel, if it is a hotel at all. With bugs, it’s all dirty, the food is terrible.
“They don’t want to give him a chance to move to a better hotel or a rented house.” Her statements confirmed the earlier reports.